Not just fine dining: new Castlecomer restaurant serves up a slice of local history
By Sinéad Connolly
A NEWLY opened county Kilkenny restaurant is serving up a little local history and a menu inspired by locally sourced produce in their critically-acclaimed fine diner.
Michelin-accredited chef Keith Boyle and his wife Carmel say they delighted at the response so far to their new venture, Restaurant Lady Anne, in Castlecomer.
“We’ve had customers from the UK, Northern Ireland, Donegal, Tipperary, Laois, Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow. We’ve had a few locals from Castlecomer which is fantastic as they are getting to see Creamery House from a different viewpoint,” Keith told KilkennyNow.ie.
“The most poignant guest we’ve has so far is Mr Tom Teehan. Mr Teehan was the last
resident in this house. His dad was creamery manager here. So to have Mr Teehan here and to get his insight and hear his experience of living here was fantastic.”
Lady Restaurant Anne is located on the ground floor and basement of Creamery House, a four-story Georgian house originally built in 1750. The house was burned down during the 1798 rebellion and was rebuilt the following year by Lady Anne Wandesforde. It has recently been lovingly restored by local owner John Comerford.
“We have such a wonderful platform here to showcase, not just the restaurant but the whole house. What John Comerford has done to it is fantastic. We only lease a certain part of the house but he’s quite happy for us to show people around it,” Keith added.
According to Keith, the mix of local history and delicious food has been a big hit with diners.
“The response has been very good. Our style of dining is very different. We are offering a dining experience more so than just dinner. We do tours of the house before customers dine. We do six people every 30 minutes. By the time guests come into the house, we bring them into the lounge, they usually have a glass of sparkling and we usually take them on a tour around the house. We have a local girl who knows the house since she was a child, so she shows the customers around and tells them the history of the house. People are really enjoying it.”
Carmel is the restaurant manager, sommelier and runs the show behind the scenes.
Moving from The Bay Tree restaurant in Waterford has meant a big change, both in terms of schedule and service, for the talented couple. Restaurant Lady Anne is open Thursday to Sunday and seats a maximum of 22.
“We came to Castlecomer and Creamery House to offer something different, something special and for that reason we don’t like to over-pack the restaurant. The maximum we have done so far is 16 and that’s on purpose. We want every guest who walks through the door to enjoy their experience,” Keith said.
Using local produce has always been important to Keith: “You should never have to look far afield when we have local producers on our doorstep. Last week we found a husband and wife team that are growing edible flowers. We were sourcing them from outside but now we can get them locally.”
Keith’s menu reflects produce that is in seasons and available locally. “The menu will be changing at the end of the month. We have a very small menu because we like to keep it fresh. Coming into the summer now, we will have fresh halibut, we have strawberries and elderflower coming on the menu.”
Keith and Carmel’s interest in supporting local growers, farmers and businesses doesn’t stop there. They are also teaming up with three local businesses to create a hassle-free wedding package all under one roof.
“We offer the house and dinner, and we have teamed up a florist, photographer and singer all from Castlecomer and now we can offer a package that covers everything for your wedding,” Keith said.
Restaurant Lady Anne was recently inspected by Michelin and received and glowing endorsement from @MichelinGuideUK on Twitter for putting Castlecomer on the ‘foodie map’.
For more information or to make a booking, call 056 440 0080 or log on to: http://restaurantladyanne.ie/